Achieving sustainable (social) performance in supply chains: A cross cultural comparison between Finland and India.

Research summary

The aim of the proposed research is to investigate the role of supplier development in achieving sustainability in supply chains. In doing so, we also look into how capacity building affects or improves the performance of both supplier and supplier communities and help in shaping a sustainable society.


Supplier Development (SD) is at the core of developing the capacities and capabilities of the suppliers. The central aspect of SD is to improve performance of the suppliers while ultimately improving buyer own performance. However, both practitioners and researchers have neglected the role of SD in improving the financial and social performance. Further, the role of SD in promoting sustainability has not been at the centre of investigations so far. The proposed research intends to bring two disparate fields (sustainability and SD) together and see how it helps in implementing the sustainability agenda in supply chains. Empirical investigations so far into food industries in India revealed that SD enhances and improves the capabilities of the suppliers which in turn affects the livelihood strategies of the supplier communities. Such enhanced capabilities have helped the suppliers to think beyond the basic amenities like food, shelter and clothing and indulge in community building initiatives. From the findings so far (which are limited), it is difficult to conclusively say that SD can be a potential way of achieving sustainability. Future investigations into sustainable supply chain practices including SD initiatives should include different sectors, countries and cultures to understand the role of business in driving the sustainable agenda further. A comparative study between India and Finland will be worth investigating as both the countries consists of sizeable amount of small and medium scale companies and engage in SD practices. From a managerial perspective, these findings should help both Indian and Finnish firms to understand the business practices and help them expand into each other markets.

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Research publication

Research info

Research title
Achieving sustainable (social) performance in supply chains: A cross cultural comparison between Finland and India.

Research timeline
1.12.2015 - 1.2.2016

Buyer-Supplier Relationships. Social and Economic Performance Supplier Development Supply Chain Management Sustaiability


Finland, India

Aalto University
Department of Logistics and Service Economy
Helsinki, Finland

Funding instrument

Head of research
Sadaat Ali Yawar

Contact information
Sadaat Ali Yawar

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